Transit Screen 7 articles

Transit

2018

Transit Poster
  • All of this unbalancing, wrong-footing mischief may very well be part of the point. But it’s hard to tell what it’s actually all for — clear away the smoke and take down the mirrors and there isn’t much left to tether all the intricacies to a core of real meaning or heart. Rogowski is a wonderfully grounding presence, but Beer, with her semi-translucent, alabaster skin is almost an abstraction. . . . And so the grand romance between Georg and Marie never attains any real erotic charge.

  • Petzold takes full advantage of the story’s genre machinations, chiseling the melodramatic gestures that punctuated his previous triumph, Phoenix (2014), into a taut thriller whose incongruous narrative elements only accentuate the film’s timelessly tragic arc.

  • Like a Fritz Lang film, Transit is plotted relentlessly, but Petzold, as is his style, keeps the mise en scène and perspective spartan to a razor’s edge of alienating. From this comes the vivid sense that each twist and turn of events is not just about narrative surprise, but that the film is making greater points—of ideology, of politics, and reflective ones about how cinema relates to reality—along a story path mined at every angle with meaning.

  • Symbolic ghosts, liminal spaces and fluid identities are recurrent motifs in Petzold’s oeuvre and here they are brought together in an overwhelmingly sad meditation on the repeated moral failures that make up the history of refugees in Europe. This sadness accumulates into a potent plea for genuine, collective introspection and a concomitant change of course.

  • The usual lean craftwork one expects from the director is present and I was intrigued and with the film until a tricksy sequence of false endings began to irritate and just about spoiled it.

  • On the issue of displacement, this is a high-concept decision that asks—and, by film's end, answers for itself—how little things have changed over all those decades. But Transit has little time for pedantry. It's sleek and confident in the same Hitchcockian mold as Petzold's 2015 film Phoenix.

  • Christian Petzold seems to realize that viewers are going to feel as if they’ll need a few moments to get their bearings in the world of Transit. In one swift and brilliant stroke, he denies us the luxury. Georg (Franz Rogowski) enters a café from the sun-seared streets of present-day Paris, meets up with a contact, and the two of them plunge headlong into a hushed and urgent discussion of transit papers, visas, and passports, sounding for all the world like Rick, Ilsa, and Victor in Casablanca.

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